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Washington, December io, 1889. 

Commander Henry F. Picking has been designated 
to succeed Lieut. G. L. Dyer as Chief of the Hydro- 
graphic Office of the Bureau of Navigation. Under 
Lieutenant Dyer and his immediate predecessor, Com- 
mander Bartlett, the methods and results of the Hydro- 
graphic Office have been made available and practically 
useful to the public. In addition to the branch offices 
at New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New 
Orleans and San Francisco, new branches have been 
established at Portland, Oregon, Norfolk, Va., and 
Savannah, Ga. Other offices will be located as soon as 
the condition of appropriations will admit. During the 
past year sixty-six new charts have been published. The 
general localities covered are in Newfoundland, Nova 
Scotia, West Indies, Gulf of Mexico, South America, 
California, and islands in the Pacific and East Indies. 
In addition, the publication of the great circle sailing 
gnomonic charts of the North and South Pacific and 
Indian oceans completes the set of these charts for the 
great oceans. The charts of the North and South 
Pacific and Indian. oceans will be found particularly use- 
ful ; that of the North Pacific, for the ocean travel between 
the United States and the China Sea ; those of the In- 
dian and South Pacific in the New Zealand and Austra- 
lian trade. All who use these charts in connection with 
a knowledge of the prevailing winds and currents of 


648 Washington Letter. 

the ocean gain daily advantage in the great sea-routes. 
There are now eight hundred different Hydrographic 
Office charts, and nearly thirty thousand copies were 
issued during the past year. 

Especial attention is being given by the Office to the; 
subject of marine meteorology. Within the last few 
years this science has made vast progress, and although 
ocean storms differ in certain marked ways from those 
on land, yet it is only a difference of degree. This Di- 
vision under the charge of Mr. Everett Hayden is now 
thoroughly systematized, and it is expected that the 
present permanent force of marine meteorologists will 
be able gradually to develop Pilot Charts of all the 
oceans, similar to that now issued monthly for the North 
Atlantic. Probably no strictly nautical publication has 
ever had a greater success than this chart. The issue 
of March, 1888, and the supplements for February and 
August of the same year were exceptionally popular. 
The March chart contained diagrams and directions for 
the use of oil in calming heavy seas, taken from Captain 
Karlowa's prize essay on the subject. It was distributed 
amongst all classes of sea-going people, and was the 
means of saving many lives and much property during 
the very stormy months of March and April and the 
early part of May. The use of oil for the purpose of 
smoothing dangerous seas is becoming universal, but 
it is believed that much may still be learned as to the 
most suitable kind of oil and the best methods and ap- 
pliances for using it for this purpose. The February 
supplement gave a very complete account of the remark- 
able cruise of the famous derelict schooner W. L. White, 
which was abandoned off the capes of the Delaware dur- 

Washington Letter. 649 

ing the March " blizzard," and crossed the Atlantic in 
an erratic track in ten months and ten days. She was 
reported forty-five times, and for six months remained 
off the Grand Banks, directly in the track of transatlantic 
steamers. The August supplement was devoted prin- 
cipally to the history of the raft which broke away from 
the steamship Miranda in December, 1887, and became 
such a great menace to navigation. It experienced a 
series of severe Northwest gales which broke it up and 
drove the scattered portions across the Gulf Stream. 
The drift of the logs was indicated graphically and dis- 
cussed in the accompanying text. It afforded an inter- 
esting illustration of the direction and force of the pre- 
vailing winds and currents in the North Atlantic. 

Lieut. J. A. Norris gives in detail in the Annual Re- 
port of the Hydrographer for 1889 an account of the 
expedition which left New York for Vera Cruz in 
November, 1888, for the telegraphic determination of 
longitudes in Mexico and Central America. The re- 
sults of this valuable work are about ready for publica- 
tion. The same party is preparing for further labor in 
the West Indies and on the Spanish Main. A similar 
expedition in 1883 determined the position of Vera 
Cruz in latitude and longitude ; and another in 1884 
fixed the position of La Libertad in Salvador. 

In the preparation of the new charts for Sunda 
Strait, Singapore and Rhio Straits, and the passages 
from Java into the China Sea, the Hydrographic Office 
has adopted a new system for the spelling of Malay 
names, which it is proposed to follow in future publica- 
tions relating to regions for which Malay has principally 
supplied the nomenclature. The new system is based 

650 Washington Letter. 

on the Dutch orthography of Malay, as found in the 
latest publications of the Hydrographic Office at 

The latest Batavian spelling of a Malay name is 
transcribed in accordance with the following rules : 
oe, the vowels oe are changed to u simply ; as 
Batu for Batoe, Sumur for Soemoer, etc. 
y is substituted for j when this letter is not 
preceded by d or t; as, Payung for 
Pajoeng, Tamuyang for Tamoejang, etc. 
j is substituted for dj ; as, Jati for Djati, Pan- 

jang for Pandjang, etc. 
ch is substituted for tj ; as, Kechil, for Ketjil, 
Sanchang for Santjang, Chipanchur for 
Tjipantjur, Chilachap for Tjilatjap, etc. 
i is substituted for ie in words ending in that 
syllable, the e being mute after i ; as, 
Mandiri for Mandirie, Kali for Kalie, 
Banyuwangi for Banjoewangie, etc. 
In regard to merely descriptive names, as tanjong 
(cape or point), pulo (island), gunong (mountain), 
gusong (shoal), etc., the practice is in favor of trans- 
lating them, except in cases where, for reasons of 
euphony or long usage, the Malayan appellation may 
be retained. Also, names which have long been writ- 
ten in a form that has become familiar to American 
eyes will not be changed, although the spelling may not 
be in accordance with the adopted system, as Anjer, 
Singapore, Banka, and a few others. 

Older Batavian charts are not relied on for correct 
spelling, as they show many differences from the more 
recent Batavian charts. 

Washington Letter. 65 1 

In Malay literature there is a great diversity in the 
manner of spelling many words, and the pronunciation 
of the same name varies according to locality. The 
Malay alphabet consists of thirty -four letters, and the 
English alphabet does not therefore accurately corre- 
spond with it without additional symbols, which it is not 
desirable to introduce on nautical charts. 

It is for these reasons impracticable to prescribe abso- 
lutely correct rules of pronunciation, and as the rules 
should be simple, oniy an approximation to the true 
sound is aimed at in the system here given, which, in the 
main, will be found to correspond with that proposed in 
the British Admiralty China Sea Directory, Vol. I. 
1886, pages v and vi. 


a, as in Java, Banka. 

e, as in Pernambuco, Mexico. 

i, as in Chili, Mississippi. 

0, as in Formosa, Bangkok. 

u, as in Sumatra, Peru. 
ai, as in Shanghai, or as I in Ireland. 
au, as ow in Howard, or as ou in house. 
ao, but slightly different fromau, as in Macao. 
ei, but slightly different from ai, or nearly as 
the ie and ye in die or dye. 


b, d,f, h, J, k, I, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, x and z, 

the same as in English. 
ch, as in Churchill, Chichester. 
g, is always hard, as in game. 

652 Washington Letter. 

y, as in yard, yes. 
ng, as in finger, singer. 
gk, as in Nang-ka (the g should never be 

dropped, as in Banka for Bangka, the 

syllable ending in g being usually the root 

of the compound or derivation). 
kh and gk are oriental gutturals, as in Khan, 


Alaska. — -There are two chapters of interest in Capt. 
Healy's account of the Corwins cruise in the Arctic 
Ocean in 1884, recently printed.* (i) Descriptions of 
Bogoslov Island and the new volcano in Bering Sea, and 
(2) Narrative account of the exploration of the Kowak 

According to Surgeon Yeman of the Corwins party, 
the newly formed portion of Bogoslov Island lies in lati- 
tude 53°, 55', i8".5 N., and longitude 168°, 00', 21" W. 
It is nearly circular in shape, and distinctly volcanic in 
origin. Two other navigators saw this island in 1883, 
but the party from the Corwin was the first to land. It 
is not definitely known when the new land arose from 
the sea, but it was probably in the year 1882. 

As seen from the deck of the Corwin in 1884, it had 
the appearance of a dull gray, irregularly shaped hill, 
about five hundred feet in height ; from the sides and 
summit of which volumes of steam were rising. A closer 
examination of what appeared to be patches of vegeta- 
tion revealed only collections of condensed sulphur. No 
animal life whatever was found ; nor could any satisfac- 
tory examination of the fissures be made owing to steam, 

*Report of the cruise of the Revenue Marine Steamer Corwin, in the Arctic 
Ocean, in the year 1884. 4to, Washington, l88g. 

Washington Letter. 653 

fumes and heat ; it being hot enough in one of the crev- 
ices through which steam was escaping to melt the solder 
fastenings of the thermometer, and expand the mer- 
cury sufficiently to burst the bulb. The discharge from 
the vents was perfectly regular, unaccompanied by much, 
if any, noise. 

The explorations of the banks of the Kowak River 
are the first ever recorded. The steam-launch started from 
Cape Krusenstern July 8th and returned August 30th. 
It traversed 370 miles up river and 204 miles in explor- 
ing Lake Selawik and its region. The prime object for 
which the expedition was sent, viz. : the exploration for 
a lake which was supposed to exist at the headwaters of 
Kowak River, or a ready means of communication be- 
tween the settlements on the Yukon River and those on 
the shores of the Arctic Ocean, was not accomplished ; 
but the narrative of Lieut. J. C. Cantwell abounds with 
interesting details of the examination of the topography 
of the surrounding country which resulted in several im- 
portant changes being made in the maps of that section. 
Ethnological and natural history notes are treated in sep- 
arate chapters. 

Commander C. H. Stockton of the Thetis reports 
that during the cruise of that vessel in Bering Sea, no 
evidence was seen of the existence of either of the two 
reported islands southwestward of the Pribyloff Islands, 
or of a shoal indicated on the chart as doubtful in about 
latitude 57° 30' N., Longitude 167° 25' W. ; also that 
the concurrent testimony of several Revenue Marine 
officers and the commanding officers of the Alaska 
Commercial Company's steamers is against the existence 
of this shoal or the islands. 

654 Washington Letter. 

From the same source the following late information 
relating to the north coast of Alaska, from Point 
Barrow to Mackenzie Bay is derived. On August 8, 
1889, the Thetis started on a cruise to the eastward 
of Point Barrow, which extended as far as Mackenzie 
Bay. In the main, the contour line of the coast as 
shown on Hydrographic Chart No. 912 is correct. 
The coast line, however, is out of latitude in various 
places, being generally plotted several miles too far 
to the northward. This is especially the case in the 
vicinity of Flaxman's Island and the eastern part 
of Lion Reef. The other more prominent outlying 
shoals and islands are mostly correct in latitude, but 
their indicated positions with respect to the main land 
and their general directions are in many cases erroneous. 
The soundings are relatively well placed as regards the 
coast, but the absolute positions are often wrong, as in- 
dicated on the chart. Ice is always found along and 
near the coast between Point Barrow and Herschel 
Island, the heavier ice resting either upon or in the close 
vicinity of Tangent Point, Cape Halket, Lion Reef, 
Manning Point and near Herschel Island. With west- 
erly and northwesterly winds, the pack ice is likely to 
come down upon the shore at one or all of these points. 
A northeasterly wind in turn clears the ice off the coast 
and opens a lane. Vessels going to the eastward after 
the first week in September, or remaining to the east- 
ward after that time, should be prepared for wintering. 

Tangent Point is low and flat, with many small la- 
goons. It is represented by the natives as being almost en- 
tirely the delta of a river, most probably the Ik-puk-puk. 
The shoal off Cape Halket reported by Captain Knowles, 

Washington Letter. 655 

of the whaler Pacific, was not met with by the Thetis, but 
several whaling vessels this year report it at a distance 
of three miles N. 81° E. from what is represented as an. 
island just inside of Cape Halket. It if stated that this 
island, which lies close inside and to the eastward of 
Cape Halket, is connected by a low sandy neck with the 
main land. 

Pelly Mountains were not found by the Thetis, and 
certainly do not exist where placed by the charts. The 
concurrent testimony of the whaling masters who know 
the locality, and the natives who hunt in that neighbor- 
hood is strong evidence against the existence of these 
Mountains. In going eastward the Franklin Mountains 
were the first ones met. From the point of view of the 
Thetis they seemed continuous with the Romanzoff 

Several islands, one of them about three miles long, 
extend from Return Reef to the sand island shown off 
the Colville River, in Harrison Bay. These islands are 
not shown on the Hydrographic Office chart, and appear 
to have no name among the natives, and they have been 
designated " Thetis " islands. They number, as far as 
seen, four, and run in a general way parallel to the main 
coast line. The group of small islands extending about 
east and west off Yarborough Inlet are really the termi- 
nal islands at the western end of Lion Reef. Being about 
midway between Lion Reef proper and Return Reef, they 
have been designated "Midway" Islands. The western- 
most of these islands is in- latitude 70° 28' N., longitude 
147° 53' W., and has been named " Cross " Island. 

On Collinson Point and on Barter Island are to be 
found during the summer, rendezvous and encampments 

656 Washington Letter. 

of Eskimo, meeting there for the purpose of trade, simi- 
lar to the same rendezvous in Kotzebue Sound. Here the 
eastern and western Eskimo, or more correctly the west- 
ern and the middle or Mackenzie River Eskimo meet, also 
the Luces or Rat Indians, who come from the vicinity of 
the Porcupine and Rat rivers, and who have a principal 
rendezvous and habitation at the Rampart Station. They 
are generally Christians and inoffensive. There is no 
permanent settlement either at Collinson Point or Barter 

Herschel Island is about five hundred feet in height, 
has a rounded outline, sloping gradually from the centre 
on all sides, and shows an appearance of former glacial 
action. The vegetation is confined to grasses and small 
arctic flowers. On the east side of the island there is a 
small snug harbor, named Pauline Cove. An open bay, 
named Thetis Bay, on the same side of the island, was 
found by the Thetis and three steam whalers to be a 
fairly good anchorage with westerly and northwesterly 
winds. There is a rise and fall of the tide amount- 
ing to about three feet in the vicinity of Herschel 

The schooner A'f^^'ze/^jj/, while cruising in July, 1889, in 
Bering Sea, passed near to the charted position of the 
" supposed island " southward of the Pribyloff Islands. 
The weather was quite clear at times, but no island was 
seen. When the vessel was in Amoughta Pass, Aleu- 
tian Islands, about midway between and on a line join- 
ing the south point of the eastern extreme of Seguam 
Island with the north extreme of Amoughta Island, the 
pass between Tchegoula Island and Amoughta Island 
was well open, showing Tchegoula Island to be further 

Washington Letter. 657 

to the northward and westward than is indicated on the 

Boundaries. — When the Secretary of State in March 
last submitted to Congress certain documents and maps 
relating to the undetermined boundary line between 
Alaska and British Columbia, being the papers and 
memoranda of Mr. W. H. Dall and Dr. George M. 
Dawson, referred to in my letter of June 15, 1889, the 
documents alone were printed, without the maps. The 
entire report, documents and maps have been recently 

It will be remembered that during the sessions of the 
Fisheries Conference in Washington in 1887-88, it was 
suggested that an informal consultation between some 
person in this country possessing knowledge of the 
questions in dispute, and a Canadian similarly equipped, 
might tend to facilitate the discovery of a basis of 
agreement between the United States and Great Brit- 
ain, upon which a practical boundary line might be 
established. Mr. Dall and Dr. Dawson werfe selected 
as principals in the consultation. 

The fnclosures with the Report of the Secretary of 
State are as follows : 

1. Mr. Dall to Mr. Moore, January 3, 1888. 

2. Dr. Dawson to Sir Charles Tupper, February 7, 

2a. Same to same, February 11, 1888. 

3. Mr. Dall to Mr. Bayard, February 13, 1888. 

4. Same to same, December 19, 1888. 

5. Memorandum on the Alaskan boundary, by Will- 
iam H. Dall, A. M. 

* Senate Ex-Doc. No. 146, 50th Congress, 2d Sess. 

658 Washington Letter, 

6. Supplementary memorandum on the views of Gen- 
eral Cameron as submitted in the letter of Dr. 
George M. Dawson to Sir Charles Tupper, by 
William H. Dall. 

7. Convention between United States and Russia, 
April 5-17, 1824. 

8. Anglo-Russian treaty, 1825. 

9. American-Russian treaty, 1867. 

10. Two tracings by the Coast Survey, showing the 
features of the region on the north shore of Port- 
land Inlet, near its mouth. 

11. British Admiralty Chart, No. 2,431, showing the 
latest British survey of Portland Inlet. 

12. Chart 3 of French edition of Vancouver of 1799; 
covering region north of the 45th parallel of lati- 

13. Chart 7 of same, covering territory between par- 
allels 54° and 57° north latitude. 

14. Ofificial Canadian map of British Columbia, 1884. 

15. Dawson's Canadian map, 1887. 

16. Dawson's Canadian map, 1887, showing conven- 
tional lines proposed by Canada. 

17. Canadian map, January 23, 1888. 

Advices to the latter part of August have been re- 
ceived from the Coast Survey party sent out at the 
instance of the Secretary of State to make a preliminary 
survey of the frontier line between the 141st meridian 
of west longitude at or near where it crosses the Yukon 
River. The points of destination had not been reached. 
Captain McGrath writes under date of August 19th 
that he was then two hundred miles beyond that point 
on the Yukon, which is half way between St. Michael's 

Washington Letter'. 659 

and where he expected to go. The river much resem- 
bled the Mississippi. Indian settlements were numerous, 
the mountains magnificent, and the forests luxuriant. 
The ground was frozen hard anywhere below ten inches, 
but in spite of this the weather was so warm that every 
man was going around in his shirt sleeves. 

The parties separated at Fort Yukon on the 2d of 
July. Turner and his party went up the Porcupine in 
a steamer — the first one ever seen on that river. Fort 
Yukon is but a name. There is not a stick of one of 
its houses left. The English used to think it belonged 
to them, but a survey showed that it was twenty-five 
miles within our territory, and as there was no business 
to warrant occupation, the houses of the Hudson Bay 
Company were allowed to go to ruin. 

Under date of August 21st Captain McGrath writes 
that he was four or five miles outside of the United 
States line, and did not expect to get any more letters 
out this year nor in the spring. 

Henry L. Whiting, of the Coast Survey, has made a 
report as referee on the disputed boundary line between 
Maryland and Hog Island. The report awards the dis- 
puted territory to the State of Maryland. After review- 
ing the original charter which adopted the high-water 
mark as the boundary line and the award of the arbitra- 
tors in 1877 which changed the line to low-water mark, 
Mr. Whiting concludes as follows : " I am prepared to 
say, on the part of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, that, 
according to the text of the award of the arbitrators of 
1877, as descriptive of the boundary line between Mary- 
land and Virginia, no mathematical or physical con- 
struction can be put upon the meaning of said descrip- 

66o Washington Letter. 

tion which will locate and define this cognate boundary 
line and low-water mark in any other place or make it con- 
form to any other course of the river than that which they 
have ascertained and determined to be the low-water 
mark on the south shore (right bank) of the Potomac 
River, as marked and shaded in red upon the coast chart 
No. 33 of the United States Coast Survey, which is 
filed as part of the said award and explanatory thereof. 
This clearly illustrates the intended location of the 
boundary line and conforms to the terms and meaning 
of the award." 

Information has been received from the joint bound- 
ary commission of New York and New Jersey, that 
it is proposed to erect at once a permanent monu- 
ment at the turning point in the boundary line between 
New York and New Jersey in Raritan Bay. The mon- 
ument will be situated i 5-8 miles S. 64° 21' E. from 
Great Beds light-house, and will be marked " State 
Boundary Line, New York and New Jersey." It will 
consist of an iron beacon surmounted by a ball and 
spindle, painted white, the whole structure being thirty- 
seven feet above mean low water, and having a circum- 
ference of ripraps, the diameter of which will be 100 
feet. Position : Latitude, 40° 28' 35" N. ; longitude, 
74° 13' 32" W. 

Irrigation. — The Director of the United States 
Geological Survey has notified the Secretary of the In- 
terior of the selection of the following sites for reser- 
voir purposes, situate in the several States and Terri- 
tories designated, all of which selections have been 
approved by the Department : 

Clear Lake, Lake County, California, together with 

Washington Letter. 66 1 

all lands situate within two statute miles of the borders 
of said lake at high water. Letter dated June 7, 1889. 

Independence Lake, Nevada County, California, to- 
gether with the lands bordering thereon. Letter dated 
August 5, 1889. 

Donner Lake, Nevada County, California, together 
with the lands adjacent thereto. Letter dated August 
5, 1889. 

Webber Lake, Sierra County, California, together 
with the lands bordering thereon. Letter dated August 
5- 1889. 

Twin Lakes, Lake County, Colorado, together with 
all lands situate within two statute miles of the borders 
of said lakes at high water. These lakes are in close 
proximity to each other. Letter dated July 8, 1889. 

Sampitch River, San Pete County, Utah, the lands 
included in said proposed site being situate in sections 
16, 21, 28, 32 and 33, township 18 south, range 2 east. 
Letter dated July 18, 1889. 

Sevier River, Millard County, Utah, the lands therein 
being situate in sections 2, 3, 10, 11, 14 and 15, town- 
ship 17 south, range 7 west. Salt Lake meridian. Let- 
ter dated July 26, 1889. 

Bear Lake, Utah, together with all lands adjacent 
thereto and within two statute miles of the borders of 
said lake at high water. Letter dated July 19, 1889. 

Bear Lake, Bear Lake County, Idaho, together with 
all lands situate within two statute miles of the borders 
of said lake at high water. Letter dated July 19, 1889. 

Montana. — Sections 21 and 22 township 9 north range 
2 east; section 12 township 9 north, range 2 west; sec- 
tions 7 and 8, township 9 north, range 3 west; sections 

662 Washington Letter. 

1 8 and 19 township 18 north, range 6 west; sections 13 
and 24, township 18 north, range 7 west; sections 5 
and 8, township 22 north, range 4 east; and of township 
22 north, range 3 east ; all of township 26 north, range 
7 west ; and section 17, township 25 north, range 6 west. 
Letter dated July 19, 1889. These lands are located in 
Meagher, Jefferson, Lewis and Clarke and Choteau 

Rio Grande River, above the site of El Paso, N. Mex., 
as an international dam and reservoir : and public lands 
on the right bank of the Rio Grande River, between the 
Mexican boundary line and a point 20 miles above that 
boundary line and extending 4 miles west of said right 
bank. Said lands are situate in townships 26, 27 and 28 
south, range 2 east, and townships 26 to 29, inclusive, 
south, range 3 east. Las Cruces district. Letters dated 
July 13 and 30, 1889. 

Congress of American Nations. — The discussions 
of the congress of American nations promise to extend 
well into the summer of the year 1890. Since the i8th 
of November time has been chiefly occupied with ad- 
journments and the consideration of rules, which also 
provide for the appointment of the following commit- 
tees : 

An executive committee of five members, to receive 
and record nominations of Vice-Presidents from the 
several delegations to designate the officer who shall 
preside in the absence of the President ; to superintend 
the publication of the protocols and reports of the pro- 
ceedings, and to provide generally for the conduct of 
business ; 

A committee on customs union, composed of five 

Washington Letter. 66 


members, to consider and report a basis for an American 
Customs Union, and the advisability of a division of the 
subject into sections, according to the geographical sit- 
uation of the countries represented in the conference 
and the similarity of interests involved ; 

Three committees of five members each to consider 
and report upon the best means of extending and im- 
proving the facilities for transportation • and postal and 
telegraphic communication between the several coun- 
tries represented that border on the Atlantic Ocean, the 
Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico and the Carib- 
bean Sea, respectively ; 

A committee of five members to consider and report 
on the subject of railway communication between the 
several countries represented ; 

A committee on Customs Regulations, composed of 
five members, to consider and report upon the best 
method of improving and simplifying customs regula- 
tions in the several ports of the countries represented ; 

A. — Formalities to be observed in the importation 
and exportation of merchandise ; 

B. — Classification, examination and valuation of 
merchandise ; 

C. — Methods of imposing and collecting fines and 
penalties for" the violation of the customs and harbor 
regulations ; 

A committee of five to consider and report upon the 
best method of securing uniformity of lighthouse, pilot, 
and other harbor dues ; 

A committee of three to consider and report upon 
the adoption of a uniform system of weights and meas- 

664 Washington Letter. 

A committee of seven to consider and report upon 
the best method of estabHshing and maintaining sani- 
tary regulations in commerce between the several coun- 
tries represented ; 

A committee of three to report upon the best method 
of protecting patents, publications, trade marks and 
right in commerce between the countries represented ; 

A committee on extradition, composed of three mem- 
bers, to consider and report upon the establishment of 
a general convention between the countries represented ; 

A committee on monetary convention, consisting of 
seven members, to report the basis of a monetary con- 
vention between the countries represented in the con- 
ference ; 

A committee on banking, to consist of five members, 
to report a method of improving and extending the 
banking facilities and credit system between the coun- 
tries represented ; 

A committee on international law, to consist of five 
members, to report uniform rules of private interna- 
tional law affecting civil and commercial matters and the 
legalization of documents ; 

A committee on general welfare, to consist of seven 
members, to report some plan of arbitration for the 
settlement of disagreements that may hereafter arise 
between the several nations represented in the confer- 
ence, and to receive, consider and report upon any other 
topics that may be proposed other than those included 
in the invitation from the Government of the United 

Archeology. — The recent discovery of archaeological 
remains by Mr. W. H. Holmes, of the U. S. Ethnolog- 

Washington Letter. 665 

ical Bureau, in the vicinity of Rock Creek, a tributary of 
the Potomac near Washington, is regarded as of high 
importance. Within a mile of the city limits a quarry 
workshop of early stone workers has been unearthed, and 
can be seen to-day almost exactly as it was left by the 
ancient workmen. The first discovery of these remains 
appears to have been made in 1887 by an assistant of 
Mr. Holmes, who was sketching in the vicinity, and who 
by chance found an implement in the gravel at his feet. 
He subsequently came upon a number of heaps of refuse 
in a ravine. In September, 1889, Mr. Holmes obtained 
the consent of the owner of the property to work upon 
the premises. After a careful survey he excavated a 
trench which cut a section directly across the line fol- 
lowed by the ancient workmen. He found a little below 
the surface a belt of worked material fifty feet wide and 
on an average about six feet deep, containing upwards 
of three thousand specimens. It is probable that the en- 
tire site contains over a million finished, unfinished and 
broken implements. Out of fourteen hundred that have 
been carefully examined there were only twelve that ap- 
proached anything like perfection. The conclusion is 
that the perfect specimens were carried to the villages of 
the workmen to be completed at leisure. No remnants, 
or traces of tools were found. 

An examination of the quarry workshop made it ap- 
parent that the period of occupation was very long, but 
Mr. Holmes thinks there is no geological evidence to 
carry the history of man in this place back beyond the 
age of the American Indian. 

TiERRA DEL FuEGO. — Capt. St. Clair, of the British 
steamer Champion, reports recent information (March, 

666 Washington Letter. 

1 889) bearing on the condition and inhabitants of the east- 
ern coast of Tierra del Fuego. Between San Sebastian 
and Good Success bays natives were seen at most parts of 
the coast. Some Europeans engaged in gold mining were 
seen at Nombre Head, about ten miles northward of San 
Sebastian Bay, where there were several buildings and a 
flag-staff flying the Argentine flag. Also, near Cape 
Medio, some Europeans were found searching for gold. 
At Good Success Bay an Argentine government settle- 
ment was found. At Sloggett Bay a gold mining com- 
pany is established. The coast is visited every three 
months by an Argentine government vessel. 

La Pallice. — The artificial port of La Pallice, desti- 
ned to be one of the great ports of France, and begun 
by the Government some eight or nine years ago, is rap- 
idly approaching completion. The necessity for this 
work arose from the impossibility of maintaining in a 
satisfactory condition the harbors of Bordeaux and La 
Rochelle. The former is obstructed by a bar which re- 
accumulates almost as fast as it is dredged away, making it 
dangerous for large vessels, even at high tide, to attempt 
an entrance. The latter is quite filled up with sand, and 
the commerce of the place is now confined to coastwise 
trade in small steamers and schooners. 

La Pallice, before this work was begun, was partly in 
farms and partly in barren sea-coast. It lies on the west 
coast of France, about four miles west of La Rochelle, 
and a railroad has been surveyed to connect it with the 
latter place. The Compagnie Generale Transatlantique 
is under a contract with the French Government to estab- 
lish a regular line of steamers to America as soon as the 
port shall be open. 

Washington Letter. 667 

There are an outer port, inner basin, locks and dry 
docks. All the excavations were literally hewn out of 
rock. The masonry is for the most part composed of 
stones found on the spot, but the walls are faced with 
granite. About a mile from the entrance are two light- 
houses, located respectively on the islands Oleron and 
Re. The entrance to the outer harbor is to be marked 
by light-houses, one on either side. This outer harbor 
has an area of about thirty-five acres with a depth of 
water varying from thirty-one to thirty-seven feet at high 
tide, to sixteen to twenty-three feet at low tide. In the 
inner basin a uniform depth of from twenty-eight to 
thirty-four feet of water will be maintained. The land 
surrounding this basin is reserved for wharves, ware- 
houses, tramways, railroads, and all facilities for hand- 
ling, moving and storing merchandise. Somewhat over 
$4,000,000 have already been expended on these works 
by the French Government. This amount, which it is 
understood includes also the acquisition of land, seems 
like a very moderate expenditure, but when the cost of 
labor, (58 cents a day) which of itself constituted the 
larger part of the outlay is taken into account, it will be 
readily seen that equal results in the United States would 
have involved at least twice the amount. 

Cadiz. — The Department of State is advised that an 
English company is seeking a franchise to build and 
operate at Cadiz at fixed tariffs a system of deep-water 
docks of sufificient capacity to accommodate one hun- 
dred large ocean steamers. The proposed tariff reduces 
the present cost of unloading ships 50 per cent. The 
parties interested are the Spanish Transatlantic Steam- 
ship Company, the Andalusia Railroad Company and 

668 Washington Letter. 

the English Dock Company. The railrpad company 
proposes to run trains from Cadiz to London in fifty-two 
hours, and the steamship company to send a vessel a 
week to South America and New York. All cargoes 
for the interior will be discharged at Cadiz and for- 
warded by rail ; and all goods for export, as well as 
transatlantic passengers will be taken on there. At 
present, all large vessels discharge to small boats in the 
bay, and the mails for America, as well as much of the 
export business of Spain are taken on at Lisbon. 

Caprera. — In the month of May, 1889, a new sub- 
marine telegraph cable was established between Tala- 
mone, west coast of Italy and Caprera Island, north 
coast of Sardinia. 

MossAMEDES. — Information has been received that, 
owing to a late convention between Portugal and Ger- 
many, the coast line of Mossamedes, south of the 
Cunene River, has been handed over to the Germans. 
A cable having been laid between the Cape of Good 
Hope and Mossamedes, and continued from Mos- 
samedes to St. Paul de Loanda, the telegraphic circuit 
of Africa is now complete, and communication with the 
Cape via the west coast may be more expeditious than 
by the old route via the Red Sea and -Zanzibar. A new 
line of Portuguese steamers to go as far as the Cape and 
Delagoa Bay was to start in July. From Mossamedes 
the steamers are to go to Lisbon in eighteen days. It 
is proposed to start a railway line to go about two hun- 
dred miles into the interior. 

The climate of this district, situated on the west 
coast of Africa, between 13° 50' and 17° 25' south lati- 
tude, is described as excellent, and on the high plains 

Washington Letter. 669 

behind the Schella Mountains as suitable for Europeans. 
Fever is uncommon, and contagious diseases only ap- 
pear when imported in vessels, and rarely take the form 
of an epidemic. The death rate is very low. 

St. Helena. — Continued decline from its former 
prosperity is noted in regard to the historic island of St. 
Helena. The primary cause is the diversion of traffic 
by the way of the Suez Canal, although other causes, 
such as the decrease of the whaling industry and different 
methods of provisioning ships for long voyages, the re- 
duction of the garrison and consequent diminished dis- 
bursements for maintenance by the British Government, 
have had marked' effect. It is reported that many mer- 
chants have emigrated for the want of business, and 
that there is not much occupation left for the few who 
remain. Nevertheless the native population Increases, 
and there is a large surplus of labor on the island. 
Within ^ short time the English steamers have offered 
passage to Cape Town at half rates to encourage emi- 

Korea. — The following information relating to Ping 
Yang inlet and Taton Bay, west coast of Korea, is 
derived from a report by Ensign F. M. Bostwick of the 
U. S. S. Palos : The village at the head of the bight, 
between Corries Point and Rocky Point, is known as 
Chang I hen. The head of Ping Yang inlet receives 
the waters of two rivers : the Wuel-tang from the 
southeastward, and the Tatung (incorrectly Ping Yang 
on H. O. Chart 224) from the northward. The Tatung 
is much the larger of the two rivers The town at the 
mouth of the Tatung is Chel-To. Referring to British 
Admiralty Chart No. 1258, Tatong River should be 

670 Washington Letter. 

Taton Bay. No river is there?. The head of the bay 
is at the point marked Haiju (Hae-Chow-Poo). 

Hydrographic Notes. — Captain John Van Helms of 
the steamship Newbern reports as follows in regard to 
San Luis Gonzales Bay and Ometepes Bay, East coast 
of Lower California : 

Willard's Point, the northern headland of San Luis 
Gonzales bay, is about eight miles N. 69° W. from 
Point Final. From Willard's Point the bay (Willard's 
Bay) runs in a north westerly direction five miles, and 
is then separated from a lagoon by a narrow strip of sand. 
The lagoon is shallow, and abounds in turtle, fish and 
game. The bay is apparently free from hidden dangers, 
and affords shelter in all weather and from all winds. 
There is a depth of from five to ten fathoms of water, 
and even near the mouth of the lagoon there is said to 
be five fathoms within a quarter mile from the shore. 
A poor quality of water was found near the shore of the 
northern part of the bay. The rise and fall of the tide 
in Willard's Bay is said to be fourteen feet. Willard's 
Point is about two hundred and fifty feet high, and on 
its extremity there is a solitary tree. The river indi- 
cated on the chart as emptying into the southwestern 
part of San Luis Gonzales Bay, was found to be a dry 

Ometepes Bay (named by an exploring party on the 
steamer Ometepes), situated about twenty miles south- 
ward of Robinson's Landing, Colorado River, in latitude 
32° 30' N, longitude 114° 52' W., has an entrance three 
hundred feet wide and a quarter of a mile in length, 
with a depth of three fathoms of water at half tide. 
The bay, circular in form, is about three miles wide, and 

Washington Letter. 671 

free from hidden dangers. It is land-locked, and has five 
fathoms of water. The rise of tide is said to be twenty- 
five feet. The bay abounds in turtle, fish and game. 

Important changes developed by the re-survey in Nan- 
tucket Sound, have been indicated upon the charts of 
the locality issued by the Coast Survey Office since 
October 31, 1889. 

The re-survey of Cape Charles Shoals in 1888, by 
Lieut. M. L. Wood, U. S. A., assistant in the Coast Sur- 
vey, has developed a complete change in the shoals off 
Cape Charles, at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, and 
has located a new channel, called the "Northwest chan- 
nel," across these shoals. This channel has a least depth 
of twenty-three feet at mean low water. The new 
hydrography will be shown upon new editions of Coast 
Survey charts which will be ready about November 15th. 

A recent examination of the St. John's River entrance, 
Florida, by Capt. W. M. Black, U. S. A., Corps of En- 
gineers, has shown marked changes, due to the extension 
of the north jetty and the work of harbor improve- 
ments by the United States Engineers. These changes 
have been indicated upon the charts issued by the Coast 
Survey Office since October 25th. 

Lieut. T. D. Bolles of the U. S. S. Monongahela re- 
ports that September 14, 1889, his vessel passed within 
about four miles of the chartered position of Corinthian 
Shoal or reef (South Pacific Ocean), indicated in about 
latitude 8° 55' S. ; and longitude 170° 15' W. The day 
was bright and clear, with sufficient sea to have caused 
a break on the surf, but no indications of a shoal were 
observed. H.